Gun Advocates Take Fight Against California To Federal Court

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

A gun rights group in California brought a legal challenge to the state’s open carry restrictions, as the final stages of a fight against concealed carry regulations proceed.

The lawsuit was brought by California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against California State Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is currently a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Los Angeles Sheriff James McDonnell. The group is aligned with the National Rifle Association.

The Wednesday challenge comes as California pro-gun activists are bringing a fight against the state’s conceal carry restrictions. The state generally prohibits carrying guns in public areas. Residents, however, may apply through their respective counties for a license to carry a concealed weapon, provided they demonstrate “good moral character” and “good cause.”

The counties are at liberty to define what constitutes “good cause,” which is the source of the challenge from Second Amendment supporters. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the activists in 2014, but that ruling was overruled by the en banc Ninth Circuit in June.

The CRPA reasons that, because the Ninth Circuit upheld restrictions on concealed carry licenses, the state must allow open carry. Otherwise the state would dramatically infringe on Second Amendment protections.

“The en banc decision in Peruta sets the stage for Flannigan v. Harris, which challenges California’s open carry laws in addition to state and local restrictions that deny concealed carry licenses to law-abiding citizens,” the group said in a statement. “The case seeks to affirm what the United States Supreme Court instructed in District of Columbia v. Heller—that the Second Amendment guarantees the individual right of responsible, law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, i.e., to publicly carry a firearm for self-defense.”

The pro-gun control Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ranks California’s gun laws as the strictest in the nation.

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